Aug
0

TrueHoop breaks down how David Blatt will work with LeBron James

NBA

ESPN’s Henry Abbott broke down the partnership between Cleveland Cavaliers (and and former Maccabi Tel Aviv) coach David Blatt and LeBron James. Watch Henry Abbott and David Thorpe discuss whether the duo will clash.

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Aug
0

Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power

NBA


Retired Lithuanian big man and 15-season NBA veteran Žydrūnas Ilgauskas is considering a comeback according to what would best be described as reports tonight.

That isn’t a critique on the source, rather that literally all anyone has to go on right now is a single tweet from a trusted source.

Ilgauskas hasn’t laced up on a NBA or indeed any competitive court since 2011, having followed LeBron James to Miami for a single season with the Heat before hanging up his kicks. At 39, you’d have to wonder what he can offer a team that retired his jersey last season. Bob Cousy’s return at 41 after 7 years retired is a good comparison, albeit a touch more extreme in terms of time off the court. The two things in his favour are the Cavs could probably do with another big and he is plenty familiar with LeBron but you have to think there are better options out there for a roster spot.

Whatever Ilgauskas, who due to assorted commitments in the NBA only played three internationals for his home nation, ends up doing or being asked to do, that it’s even a question is a sign of the influence of LeBron James in the sport right now. His mere presence in Cleveland has made a man retired three years consider making a comeback.

Jul
1

LeBron, another sign that David Blatt just keeps on winning

NBA

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Lee Jenkins broke the story of LeBron’s return but what happens now? The madness might just be starting.

David Blatt’s been on one hell of a run. A triple crown with Maccabi, he lands a NBA job (seriously good hustle once again), the team he lands with wins the lottery and lands Andrew Wiggins, wins a bunch of coach of the year awards for work with his old team, and now…now he’s got the best player in the game on his new team.

Yeah, yeah it’s really good to be David Blatt right now.

The East is so open that it’s hardly implausible, even with a team that was pure factory of sadness last year, that Blatt takes the conference in his first season. Outside of the Pacers, is there any team in that conference you feel truly confident about taking Cleveland (and I almost wrote Miami there) in a series with a healthy LeBron James plus friends? There are plenty of options in the West, the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets are teams I’d flat out favour against them right now. That’s ignoring a handful of other teams who are better than any other opponent out East, bar Indiana, that could take down the Cavs roster over seven games. You don’t need me to tell you that only one of these teams from the West could potentially end LeBron’s season.
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Jun
0

Blatt’s Cavs to take on Maccabi in pre-season

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Euroleague champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv are heading to the US and they’re going to run into an old friend. The Euroleague champions will play the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on 5 October in the Euroleague US Tour. Last week the Cavaliers hired David Blatt, the man who led Maccabi to Euroleague glory this past season, as their new head coach. It may be pre-season but this is bound to be an emotional occasion for Blatt as he takes on his former charges.

Two days later, on 7 October, the Tel Aviv club heads to Brooklyn to take on the Nets at the Barclays Center as the second and final part of their US tour.

The pre-season games will take place shortly after Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s participation in the Intercontinental Cup. The Euroleague champions will take on FIBA Liga de las Americas champions Flamengo in a two-game series on 26 and 28 September at the Gimnasio Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro. The competition, which had been idle for almost 30 years, was re-started last season when Olympiacos Piraeus beat Pinheiros Sky.

Jun
2

David Blatt smashes the glass ceiling

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The Cleveland Cavaliers and David Blatt have come to terms, giving the Boston born coach with over 30 years in the European game his first taste of a NBA head coaching gig. Emmet Ryan says this could be a defining moment for European coaches.

You don’t have to go back all that far in history to a time when European players, or indeed any player from outside the USA, was seen as incapable of cutting it in the NBA. It wasn’t until the likes of Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, and Arvydas Sabonis made their mark that Europeans were truly accepted in the league. Dirk’s MVP season struck another blow. The steps have been taken by players in jerseys, the idea of a player whose formative years were outside of the United States not having what it takes is seen as foolish in the modern era.

Coaches however simply haven’t made the breakthrough. Ettore Messina’s single season as an assistant with the Lakers was a big deal. It opened up the prospect of a coach who had made it to the top in Europe being able to transition to the US. Messina was linked with NBA head coaching gigs less than a month ago and now looks likely to join the Spurs as an assistant. Blatt, who is of course American born, is the breakthrough we have been waiting for.

Much as the Bostonian is a noted Celtics fan, he is very much a Euro in the eyes of the NBA. This isn’t Mike D’Antoni with his flavour of Italy coaching in the bigs. Blatt is a Euro lifer. Nearly his entire professional playing career and his full two decades as a coach have been in Europe. Blatt has enjoyed phenomenal success often when resources said he shouldn’t have. Maccabi Tel Aviv’s win in Euroleague this year was the most obvious example but he has taken care of business in Italy and Russia as well as on the international stage. When Russia beat Spain in EuroBasket 2007 they knocked off the reigning World Champions. That was followed up with a bronze in London 2012.
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Jun
1

David Blatt to interview for Cleveland Cavaliers job

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David Blatt, who stepped down as coach of Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv after completing a clean sweep this season, will interview for the vacant head coaching position with the Cleveland Cavaliers according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Blatt, who has been tipped to become Steve Kerr’s assistant at the Golden State Warriors, stepped down from the top job after winning Euroleague, Israeli League, and Israeli Cup honours with Maccabi this season.

According to Wojnarowski, Blatt will be interviewed for the top job in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Blatt has previously been linked with the CSKA Moscow job, with the Israeli-American saying “you know I love Russia” right after Maccabi won the Euroleague title in Milan.

Blatt has enjoyed a wildly successful career across Europe, including the EuroBasket 2007 title and Olympic bronze with Russia in 2012, EuroChallenge with Dynamo St Petersburg in 2005, the Italian league (2006) and cup (2007) with Treviso, along with 5 Israeli league titles, 1 Adriatic league title, and 6 Israeli cups with Maccabi.

Jan
0

EURO-NBA: Where Luol Deng definitely won the trade

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Luol Deng is no longer a Bull but he wasn’t going to be at the end of the season anyway. The move to Cleveland gives the Great Britain international more control over his future.
Two words. Two words give Luol Deng reason to be happy with his situation: Kyrie Irving. Deng has gone from being a player who would get dumped by Chicago in the summer to one with far more influence come the end of the season.

The Cavaliers know they made a meal and then some of their efforts to keep LeBron James happy but they never gave him a bona fide second option to work with. In acquiring Deng, effectively on a rental, and cashing in some picks in the process they are sending a message to Irving that they won’t err the same way with the point guard. This isn’t exactly putting Pippen with Jordan but it serves a role almost as vital, in spite if the talent disparity. The Cavs took a punt on Andrew Bynum, it didn’t work, so they moved fast to ensure their star didn’t get needy.

In the process they gave Deng, an All Star a few seasons back, the one thing he really lacked this summer. A home option. The Team GB star was going to be an attractive option in the free agent market but he would be going up against a market loaded with top end talent. Now Deng will enter the summer, irrespective of how Cleveland’s season ends, knowing there’s at least one team in greater need of him than he is of their courtship. The Cavs zre desperate not to make the mistakes they made with LeBron with Irving. They are also desperate not to look desperate.

This is a situation where it behooves the Cavs to make Luol Deng happy quickly because the sooner he gets locked down, the lower the risk of Irving getting angsty. It’s about the long game with Irving. The Cavs don’t want to give him a reason to ever be needy, to ever be demanding. Take care of business, get your house in order, and keep it that way. That is how your maintain control in a front office, by never giving a player reasons to want it. For examples of how to best succeed with this strategy see Spurs, San Antonio.

Everyone’s trying to call which way this trade went. Deng is the only certifiable winner here but long-term, the shuffling of assets may actually benefit both the Cavs and the Bulls. For Britain’s best baller, that’s at most a secondary concern.

Jun
11

Eurobasket 2013: Which NBA players are in, which are out?

Because it’s never too early to start looking ahead to Eurobasket 2013 – wait a minute, there’s only 11 weeks left until tipoff? Definitely not too early, then, to take a look at the formative rosters for the big Continental tournament.

While only a few national teams (Croatia and Lithuania among them) have released preliminary rosters at this point and a few major leagues still playing (Spain, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc.), we can at least deduce which NBA players will or won’t be playing. After all, the rosters of 93.3% of NBA teams have finished their 2012-13 season – and the Miami Heat have no Europeans!

Below is a rundown of each team and the status of their potential NBA players. A few high-profile draft choices and rights-owned guys expected to jump over soon are also peppered in, along with links to appropriate sources. If you find/hear of anything relevant to the list, please comment below.
And we’ll do this group by group…

Group A
Belgium –
no current NBA players

France – Kevin Seraphin (Washington Wizards) is out for ’13 but hints he’ll be back in the future.

Ten days ago, based on a L’Equipe report, website Catch-and-Shoot described Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls)’ Eurobasket status as *très incertain*, and after another punishing NBA season seems unlikely.

No official word on Nicolas Batum (Portland), though the Trail Blazers reportedly be “watching Batum’s injury” this offseason. Perhaps some discouragement is forthcoming…?

France-based media outlet Figaro reported back in May that Ian Mahinmi (Indiana Pacers) and Ronny Turiaf (Los Angeles Clippers) would play; this may have been speculation based on prior results, but Turiaf’s presence on Les Blues for this tournament has been on coach Collet’s mind for a while.

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Jan
1

Rumor: Sasha Vujacic to leave Anadolu Efes for Memphis Grizzlies

Can you say “leaving the sinking ship”? Memphis, Tennessee-based sports reporter Chris Vernon is today reporting that his hometown Grizzlies will soon be welcoming back Slovenian Sasha Vujacic to the NBA.

Earlier today (CET time), word was leaked that the Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers would execute a multi-player trade designed to give the former team some cap space – $6 million to be precise – by shedding $4.2-million man Marreese Speights along with Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a first-round draft pick for Jon Leuer. Due to the trade, the Grizz now have open spots on the roster and a trade exception good through early 2014; minus two guards, Memphis is clearly looking to bring in some inexpensive backcourt help … such as Vujacic, who’ll certainly be happy to leave his troubled Euroleague side Anadolu Efes.

Vernon also reported that Bill Walker and Delonte West are also likely to be inked by the Grizzlies.

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Nov
5

Thoughts and Trade Machine tinkering: Can the Lakers trade Pau Gasol?

As Los Angeles Lakers fandom giddily awaits the possible debut of Mike D’Antoni on the bench tonight and the emergence of the superteam most observers expected, the inevitable whispers are beginning: Yes, Pau Gasol appears to be on some imaginary trading blocks (and perhaps even the actual one) already.

As BallinEurope understands it, the thinking goes something like this: Pau has not performed brilliantly early on this season. He’s at his peak trade value. Literally the only tradable assets beyond Gasol are Metta World Peace and Steve Blake – unless taking a flyer on Chris Duhon or Earl Clark proves irresistible to someone. Dwight Howard should exploit a pick-and-roll game enough so that the Spaniard’s specialized skills aren’t missed too much. And hey, let’s face it, they’ve been trying to deal this guy for quite some time.

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